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Men’s Swimming: Two meets to provide tough tests

Mike Gotimer | Friday, January 16, 2009

Fresh off a training trip to Puerto Rico, Notre Dame will host Northwestern tonight before traveling to Rochester, Mich., to take on Oakland.

Irish coach Tim Welsh said the trip was a positive experience for the team.

“We trained hard and trained well, and we’re eager to race and prepare for the conference championships,” Welsh said. “We have lots of energy.”

The Irish will try to capitalize on their week of rest after a tough loss to Louisville last Saturday, which dropped them to 3-4 on the season. The Irish lost to the Cardinals after their 14 days on the road in Puerto Rico. Now that the team is rested, Welsh expects his squad to perform well in both meets to begin its preparation for the conference championships.

“We want to be faster this weekend,” Welsh said. “The team will absolutely be up for both meets. It’s good preparation for our conference championships and it’s good preparation for what’s coming up. We’re not expecting anything but good performances in both meets.”

The Irish begin their weekend against Northwestern today at 5 p.m. at the Rolfs Aquatics Center. Last season, the Irish lost the Wildcats 189-111 despite two first-place finishes from junior John Lyttle in the 50 and 100 freestyle.

This season, both Notre Dame and Northwestern enter the meet looking to earn a big win as they both are floating around .500 entering the heart of their conference schedules.

“It will be a very tough meet,” Welsh said. “They lost their Olympic medalist, but they still have a couple of superstars. They will be well coached and well prepared, but we’re excited for this kind of challenge and want this kind of challenge from start to finish.”

After facing the Wildcats, Notre Dame will hit the road to travel to Oakland University to face off against the Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon. The Irish and Grizzlies swam against each other at Notre Dame’s Dennis Stark Relays in October. In that meet, Notre Dame finished first with 255 points and Oakland came in second with 204 points. Notre Dame also defeated Oakland 174-126 in January 2008, but the Irish aren’t taking the Grizzlies lightly.

“Oakland has improved since last year,” coach Welsh said. “They swam very well here earlier this fall, and they tend to swim faster in their home pool.”